What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Equal Access to Justice : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Prohibit Very Wealthy Individuals from Deliberately Sheltering Their Assets in Trusts and Declaring Bankruptcy to be Relieved of Debts.
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Prohibit Very Wealthy Individuals from Deliberately Sheltering Their Assets in Trusts and Declaring Bankruptcy to be Relieved of Debts.
senate Roll Call 42     Mar 10, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate agreed to an amendment by James Talent (R-MO) to S. 256 that would have prohibited very wealthy individuals trying to escape debts by declaring bankruptcy from sheltering their assets in a trust to protect them from creditors. S. 256 was a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules. Talent offered his amendment in response to an earlier, defeated amendment that had been offered by Progressives on the same topic. Talent stated that, "we should not allow criminals to hide their assets and avoid paying their bills. This amendment makes certain that dishonest people can't hide their assets, especially if they have caused others to lose their jobs, retirement pensions, health care benefits and, in some cases, their life savings." He explained that his amendment would require a showing of intent to defraud in order for someone to be penalized for sheltering assets in this type of trust. Arguing on behalf of Progressives, Charles Schumer (D-NY) argued that the Talent amendment was actually a "subterfuge," explaining that anyone trying to hide illegally assets to avoid seizure in bankruptcy would be careful to cover their tracks and leave no paper trail that might be used to prove intent to defraud. Progressives lost this vote 73 to 26. Thus, language to prohibit wealthy people from hiding considerable assets in trusts to prevent those assets from being seized in the course of a bankruptcy was included in the bill, though a showing of intent to defraud would be required before the government could seize those assets.

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